Nation-leading commitment to #RaiseTheAge

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ACT Community Sector congratulate Labor-Greens Government on their nation-leading commitment to #RaiseTheAge

A coalition of over 20 service delivery, human rights, legal and representative organisations in the ACT have welcomed the new ACT Labor-Greens’ Parliamentary Agreement commitment to Raise the Age of criminal responsibility and keep extremely young children out of prison. 

This commitment is the first of its kind nation-wide. The ACT has shown that while the Council of Attorneys General (CAG) drags its feet, nothing is stopping states and territories from showing leadership and legislating to raise the age themselves. 

Kim Davison, Executive Director, Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation:

“Gugan Gulwan congratulates the incoming Greens-Labor Government and welcomes the commitment to keeping our children out of a dangerous and damaging criminal justice system. All Canberrans want to live in safe, healthy communities – and that means kids in schools and playgrounds, not behind bars.

We will wait to see the final text of the legislation to change these damaging laws, but this is a promising step in the right direction. The medical evidence says the age of criminal responsibility must be raised to at least 14 years old – so we will be looking at any legislation carefully to make sure it keeps all kids under 14 out of the dangerous quicksand of the criminal justice system.” 

Elizabeth Carroll, President of the ACT Law Society:

“The ACT Law Society, and the Law Council of Australia, have been calling for the age of criminal responsibility to be raised in line with the medical evidence and United Nations standards. We congratulate the ACT Government on its leadership in becoming the first Australian jurisdiction to commit to legislation to raise the age as a matter of priority. While this change will only affect a small number of children in the ACT, it has the potential to profoundly change those children’s lives for the better.”

Karly Warner, CEO, Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW/ACT) Limited:

“Aboriginal children are bright, curious and resilient and deserve every opportunity to thrive. Every day in our work at the Aboriginal Legal Service we see our kids get dragged into the criminal justice system, instead of being supported at school, in community and with their families.

We welcome and congratulate the ACT Greens-Labor Government on its commitment to raise the age of criminal responsibility and call on other states and territories to follow the ACT’s lead. We owe it to our kids to give them the best start in life – that means doing everything we can to support our kids in their communities, connected to culture and to country.”

Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACT Council of Social Service:

“The ACT Government’s commitment to raising the age is an important step to fully realising the ACT as a human rights jurisdiction. This is a momentous commitment that will have positive impacts on children, young people and families in the ACT, but also all over Australia. We regret that the CAG process is lagging behind, but we hope that this decision will show other states and territories the importance of going it alone to keep children out of prison.

ACTCOSS will be looking at the legislation closely when it is tabled in the Assembly; we must raise the age to at least 14 with no carve outs to meet our international human rights obligations.”

Justin Barker – Youth Coalition of the ACT

“The Youth Coalition welcomes the ACT Government’s commitment to change the laws and raise the age of criminal responsibility. Supporting children and young people with crucial health, family and social services is essential to building healthy and strong communities. We congratulate the ACT Government on this historic step, and look forward to working with the ACT Government to ensure that no child under 14 finds themselves behind police or prison bars in our jurisdiction again.”   

For general inquiries: Sophie Trevitt |  Change the Record  |   0431843095 

Youth Coalition of the ACT. Justin Barker |  0407 395 070  | [email protected]  

ACTCOSS, Dr Emma Campbell, CEO, ACTCOSS | 0424 910 617 or 02 6202 7200

Law Society ACT,  Simone Carton, CEO   | 6274 0300  |  [email protected] 

Aboriginal Legal Service (NSW / ACT) Limited | 0427 346 017 |  [email protected]

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